The number of bounced checks soared 16 percent in Dubai last year; the UAE population has grown to 9m; GCC visitors to Brazil spent $0.5m on Visa in the first four days of the Fifa World Cup; GEMS appoints new CEO; and the Philippines stops processing contracts for domestic workers to the UAE. The news you need to know from the UAE this week.

Bounced checks up 16% in Dubai

Police dealt with almost 80,000 cases of bounced checks, totaling 9.4bn AED last year – an increase of more than 10,000 on 2012. But the value of those checks decreased to 12.2bn AED from 14.6bn AED in the same period.

Col Abdullah Surour, director of Al Barsha Police Station, said: “Dubai Police wants to make sure people and companies understand that writing a checks is simply a monetary transaction and not a guarantee that the money will eventually be paid. Young people, both citizens and residents, are going to prison over issuing bad checks – there are a large number of young people in jail for this reason.”

[The National]

UAE population up to 9m, Emiratization ‘on paper’ only

According to figures from Madar Research and Development and Orient Planet, the UAE’s population has reached 9,036,488, of which 13 percent are Emirati and 87 percent expatriate. The 2017 population is forecast to hit 11,533,103.

Meanwhile, companies are employing UAE nationals only to meet Emiratization targets without requiring them to come to work, The National reported FNC member for Ajman, Ali Al Nuaimi, as saying. He said some companies employed Emiratis in low-level posts then pressured them into leaving when the company hit its Emiratization target. “Emiratization is not mission impossible,” he said.

[Arabian Business], [The National]

GCC visitors to Brazil spend $0.5m in opening days of World Cup

GCC travelers to the Fifa World Cup in Brazil spent $500,000 on their Visa cards in the first four days of the games. More than two-thirds of that came from UAE and Saudi visitors. Global visitors spent $27m in the same period.

“These numbers reflect the significant impact that mega sporting events like the World Cup can have in boosting local commerce in host market economies,” said Ihab Ayoub, General Manager for Middle East and North Africa at Visa.

[Saudi Gazette]

GEMS Education appoints new CEO

GEMS Education has appointed Saeed Al Muntafiq as group CEO of the Dubai-based schools operator. In his new role, Al Muntafiq will oversee all GEMS Education operations in the Middle East, Africa and most of Asia. He was previously a non-executive director on the board of GEMS Education for more than two years.

[Gulf News]

Philippines tries to stop women heading to UAE to work as maids

The Philippines’ Overseas Employment Administration (Poea) has stopped processing contracts of Filipinos trying to move to the UAE to become domestic workers, after the UAE Ministry of Labor stopped the ratification of their contracts by their home nation embassies.

“I have further directed Poea to advise licensed recruitment agencies to explore markets for household service workers other than the UAE, even as I strongly warn illegal recruiters against deploying household service workers to UAE,” said the Philippine Labor Secretary, Rosalinda Baldoz.

The Poea did the same in 2011 when Saudi Arabia suspended the verification of domestics’ contracts after a wage disagreement.

[The National]